This is the transcript of a taped interview between Jeff Paul and Paul Hartunian on how to get tens of thousands of dollars worth of free publicity
Jeff: I'm glad to have you with us and for the next little bit, we are going to be talking to a guy that I have a lot of respect for and has been a wonderful influence on us for both our business and all our customers. And he's going to talk to us about this issue of public relations and getting publicity and he calls his program, "How to Get A Million Dollars Of Publicity For Free." And I'm always interested in that sort of stuff and I'm sure you will be too.
The gentleman's name is Paul Hartunian. We'll introduce him in a second and let him tell his background.
He's been a guest speaker at every single seminar we've done in the past. He's taught our people a tremendous amount of information that has made people a lot of money. His stuff works.
As far as I'm concerned, he's the leading publicity and public relations expert in the country, if not the world. And we are really delighted to have him here. Hi Paul, how are you doing?
Paul: Hi, Jeff. I'm doing great, and by the time the listeners are done with this tape, they're going to be doing great too.
Jeff: Well, we certainly know that because I have to say that of all the speakers we have at our seminars, you are always definitely at the top of the list of evaluations on people's response to how well they liked the seminar, and you are always right up there.
We know why. It's because you teach these people how to do something and it's so easy, so cheap and so simple, yet really nobody knows how to do what you do, which is get free publicity and get yourself a ton of advertising without spending any money. In reality, that's what we're teaching them.
Paul: And it amazes me that more people aren't doing it.
One of the things I tell people over and over is that I can show you how to do a very effective publicity campaign for less than it would cost you for an average lunch. How much is lunch? $7.00, $8.00, $10.00 or so. For that amount of money, we can get up to 100 press releases out to key media people and each one of those press releases can turn into a story. It can turn into an interview, some time on TV or radio, in a newspaper. So it's real power at a very, very low cost.
Jeff: And that's what we love about you because you're teaching people how to do stuff that they think they can't do and it's just so amazing. I'll ask you some questions and we'll talk a little bit about your background. People are going to be very interested.
And then also, they're going to find it hard to believe they can do it for themselves and you're going to teach them how to do that. So let's start with a little bit of background stuff.
Can you kind of give us a little bit about how you got involved in all this and what led you to becoming such an expert in public relations?
Paul: I was about 15 years old when I started. And at 15 I wanted to be rich and famous like lots of 15 year olds. The only way at that age that I could figure out to become rich and famous is to be on TV, in newspapers and on radio, and get lots of publicity for something. So I equated being in the media with being rich and famous. So that was the goal.
I started by getting some of the books from the library on publicity and reading what they had to say and following their system, step-by-step, doing exactly what they said. The problem was that after I got book after book after book, I got zero publicity. I'm talking about three and four years' worth of trying to get this and I got absolutely nowhere.
After I got to probably the 40th or 50th book, I realized the problem probably was that the people who wrote these books on publicity don't know what they're talking about. Because I was doing exactly what they were saying, just what they were telling me to do, but I got nowhere.
So I started to experiment on my own and I started making some changes in a press release that I had been working on. I knew I had gotten no publicity at all and you can't get worse than zero, so I might as well experiment.
Years go by, probably another seven or eight or nine years go by, and I start getting more and more publicity and I realized that I'm onto a formula here. And sure enough, the formula is becoming very, very clear.
I was missing one piece to the formula. It finally came to me. I discovered the formula and I've been using that same formula over and over and over again, now, going on 15 years to get tons of publicity. And it's the same formula, just like your system, Jeff. It's a system. It's a formula. Once you understand it, you keep using it. You don't have to be creative. You follow straight through.
Jeff: Okay, what kind of business were you in that you were trying to get publicity for?
Paul: When I was 15 years old, I had a little business where I was selling stamps to collectors. Then as time went on, like most entrepreneurs, I was in just about every business you can imagine. A new product would come along and I would get publicity for that.
I would create products, self-publishing, and on and on and on. So one of the exciting things about publicity is that it's not just for specific businesses or one small group. It's for anything you can imagine. In fact, I can't imagine a product, service, cause or issue that can't get publicity. In fact I've never even heard of such a thing.
Jeff: And when you were working all those years and failing in trying to get publicity, were there a multiple number of things you were trying to get publicity for, or was it one specific thing you kept trying over and over again to get publicity for?
Paul: Yes. In the beginning I thought maybe it was my product, so I started changing products. I went from stamps to coins next, and I was selling autographs and selling just about anything that you can imagine and not getting the publicity thinking I must be doing something wrong. So I would change products. I would change strategies and get a new book, but it still didn't work.
Then it dawned on me it wasn't my product. Publicity
works for any product or any business or any
issue. It was the system that they were telling me. That
was the real flaw.
Paul: Let's get right down to the bottom line.
By publicity, I mean the media tells the world, the country, your neighborhood, your state, whatever, the media tells people about what you have to offer and because they tell people about what you have to offer, you wind up putting money in the bank. That's the real key.
It's real nice to get your picture in the paper or to be on a radio talk show, but if you are not putting money in the bank, you're wasting your time. I want publicity to do that.
I don't want to spend lots of money on advertising and take a shot there and put my money on the line. I'd rather put a little bit of money out, $5 - $10, and send out a batch of press releases. Let the media do the advertising for me and make the sales for me.
Jeff: Well that sounds like a logical way to think, but it seems to me that it should be pretty easy to do. All you do is tell the press that you have this product or service and then they write you or call you or do an interview. What's so difficult about it?
Paul: It sounds like you've been reading the books that I read when I was 15.
Paul: Yeah, it sounds like it's very easy.
Some of the things that people don't know about publicity and getting publicity is number one, if you try to blatantly sell something through your press release, you'll almost always fail.
I never try to sell directly through a press release. The media people have rules and if you follow the rules, they're very happy to give you lots of publicity. The problem is they are not going to tell you the rules, you have to figure them out. They kind of use that as a screening device.
So if you get a press release to them and it doesn't follow a format that they are used to or that they want to accept, they'll toss it out.
If they call you for an interview and you don't say what you are suppose to be saying, they discount you, you're gone, they won't interview you.
During the interview, if you don't say what you are supposed to say, they won't plug your product.
But all of this is nothing very difficult. People are doing it the right way all the time, so you don't need any great talent. It's knowing what the media people want, giving it to them, and in return they'll give you lots and lots of promotion for whatever it is that you have to offer the public.
Jeff: There's one thing that kind of intrigues me because I don't understand exactly how this works. Let me give you some examples of what I mean and see if you can help me explain it.
I'll be watching Jay Leno or some talk show, and it's very common that you will see a star come on whose movie is just coincidentally being released. They come out and talk about the movie and they plug the movie on the show and tell people when it's going to be released and they show a clip from the movie. That's the publicity I see all the time.
While you're watching the news and the local news here in Chicago it's common to say, "Michael Jordon just announced his new clothing line released today." Then they interview Michael Jordon about the clothes that he's selling.
So a lot of times it's real famous people who are in real big, giant arenas; Michael Jordon, famous actors, Jack Nicholson and all that sort of stuff. I never even understood how that happens, but I'm assuming there's something going on behind the scenes to make that sort of stuff happen. And don't you really have to be in that level of fame to be able to get this kind of publicity?
Paul: I'm glad you brought that up because a lot of people do believe that. They believe that you have to be famous. You have to have some pet rock. You have to have some great connections. You've got to pay a PR firm to do this for you. They're all wrong.
When Michael Jordon is in the media or some movie star is in the media, they're giving that TV show value. They're giving the TV show celebrity value. People want to see these celebrities. They like turning on the TV and seeing their favorite actor or actress or sports star or someone else. So that's the value they are giving.
Now what do we give, we - Jeff and Paul and everyone else listening to this tape? What do we give to the media people that's of value?
Well, the key is information. The media people want the information that you have.
For example, let's say you're selling insurance. What they don't want to know is that you sell insurance and you have the best rates on insurance. That's not particularly interesting to anyone.
What they do want to know is that you know a little legal loophole around a law that prohibits people from buying more than $50,000 worth of insurance on their car or house or something else. That's information.
They want to know how you can get through different tax laws they're changing. They want to know how your product specifically can help people. I'm not talking about making a sales pitch. Again, I'm telling you to give the media people information.
How does your product deal with arthritis?
How does your product clean the refrigerator better?
How does your product do whatever? That's the information that they want and that's the value that you're giving to them.
One very important key that I want people to keep in mind about publicity is that advertising and ads are designed to sell. A press release should inform. That's an important key to success in publicity.
Ads sell, press releases inform.
Jeff: Okay, now I'm a little confused.
For example, when you go to the insurance agent example, you said that somebody's sending out a press release that says, "Paul Hartunian Insurance Agency announces that their company has the lowest rates on auto insurance in the tri-city area" or whatever and going on and giving some information about that. You're saying that if you send a press release into a reporter or an editor on a radio or TV station or newspaper that they are going to discount that and pay no attention to that?
You said there's some information that they would want. Could you kind of give me a little better distinction between my example there and the kind of information they do want?
Paul: Sure. The example that you gave me is nothing more than a blatant sales pitch and the media people hate blatant sales pitches. They feel that if you are going to make a blatant sales pitch, call the advertising department and pay for an ad.
So, if all you're saying is that you have the lowest insurance rates in the county, first of all, nobody believes it because that's such an old, tired routine. "I have the lowest prices." People don't believe it very much anymore.
Plus, the media people want more than that. I am a consumer of insurance. I'm not an insurance professional. But I didn't know that I have two insurance policies that are duplicating each other. I have a personal health insurance policy, and apparently, I also have another insurance policy, a homeowner's insurance policy both of which cover me in case I get injured. Worker's compensation or again, I'm not clear on exactly what it was, but these insurance professionals told me I'm duplicating insurance and I'm paying twice for this. That's the information that the media people want.
If you just say I can tell your readers how they are probably duplicating insurance and paying an average of $288 a month in unnecessary insurance costs, now they want that! That's information.
But if you simply say I have the lowest worker's compensation rates, that's an ad.
Jeff: Okay. I think I've got the difference here. I'm glad we cleared that up because that explanation was very helpful.
What you're really saying, if I'm hearing you correctly, is that the stuff that they don't want to have anything to do with is the stuff that would end up in an ad, in most cases, or in your sales pitch if you are person to person.
But the information they do want is stuff that helps people, but doesn't necessarily pitch them and their particular product. Is that a better way to say it? Am I making sense with that?
Paul: Yes. In fact maybe I can give you another example, a very personal example.
I have an audio book out called "How To Find The Love Of Your Life In 90 Days Or Less". If I were to send out a press release that said, "This new audio book is out. It's $17.95. It's great. It will help you find the love of your life in 90 days or less and it's guaranteed." Well, that's a sales pitch. That's an ad.
Instead, when I send out press releases, I don't make any sales pitch at all. I don't mention the price, I don't mention how to get it in my press release. What I do say to the media people is "If you interview me, I'll tell your readers the worst place to go on a first date. I'll tell them the best place to go on a first date. I'll tell them the huge mistake that women are making that costs them the love that they are looking for. I'll tell them the eight words that over 80% of the people say on a first date that destroys any chance for a second date." That's all hot information. That's what the media people want. They don't want me pitching my audio book.
In return, during the interview when I give them all this great information that their readers can put into use right away, "The six places in Chicago that you can go to meet the man of your dreams." Boy, everybody wants to know that. If I give them that information, then the media people are very willing to pitch my audio book for me. They're very willing to say, "You know I listened to Paul's audio book and you really should get it. Here's the toll free number that you can call to order."
Let the media people do the pitching for you. You do the informing.
Jeff: Okay, well that sounds too logical here. It makes way too much sense.
What you're really talking about is direct response publicity.
We always talk about direct response marketing. Let me distinguish what I mean and see if you agree with this.
You do see a lot of stuff that's in the paper where somebody's talking about something that's going on or a particular individual or some circumstances happen and they just talk about the thing and that's it. There's nothing in it for a person who's reading it.
Sometimes my wife has gotten information like that from the paper about asthma, for example, because she has asthma. She reads an article about this new breakthrough in asthma and it just ends. There's no place for her to call. There's no place to get more information. And I think the press is doing a disservice because now she ends up calling the radio station or the newspaper to say, "Okay, where did you get that story? How can I find out the doctor that was involved, where they are located, because I want to find out about this because it's a problem I have and I'd like to find out." The press didn't carry it through.
What I hear you saying is that you really want to make sure that you have the techniques and do it so that information is there so that the person who is learning the information can actually take some action, is that correct?
Paul: That's right. What a great disservice the media people do in not giving out the contact information.
But also, they didn't give out the contact information because I'll bet the person who sent them the press release didn't know how to put the information in there the right way. You got to know how to contact the media the right way and do the interview.
You came up with a great example that we can use again. Asthma, your wife and asthma.
There are millions of people in this country who have asthma and who have lots of problems with asthma. So, let's say that you have a new product that's been proven to be safe and effective in dealing with asthma. You now get on the radio talk shows and start talking about what asthma is. What the problem is. What this new device that you have or new nutritional program you have will do for asthma directly.
People can call you up on the show then and ask you questions about this. "Well you know, I've had asthma for 16 years and I haven't found anything. What makes you think that your product is going to work?" And then you tell them why it's going to work. You're informing them, but also they're saying, "Wow, this sounds great. You sound very authoritative."
Then at the end of the show, and in fact during the show, the talk show host is giving out your phone number. "If you have more questions about asthma, give Jeff a call at this phone number." Or in the newspaper, they will say, "If you have more questions about asthma, give Jeff a call. His office is open from these hours to these hours."
What a great endorsement you're getting from the media people. You're exchanging information that you have for the plugs that the media people will give you, the promotion that they will give you, and the sales pitches that they will do for you.
Jeff: Now are they naturally inclined to put that kind of contact information in or do you have to coach them?
Paul: You have to coach them in a way that they're familiar with, but sometimes they'll play around with you a little bit, especially the newspaper people.
Newspaper people are very reluctant to put in your contact information unless you approach them in the right way. Once you approach them in the right way, they put it in very, very frequently.
Jeff, you've seen my clippings, my newspaper clippings file. There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them there. Virtually every single one of them has all of my information in there. Name, phone number, the price of the product, how to order it, a toll free number, whatever else I need. They are very willing to promote you if you approach them in a way that they want to be approached.
Jeff: Okay, now let's talk about some of the experiences that you've had. Let's first of all talk about what different type of media that you've been in as far as publicity. You've been in newspapers correct?
Paul: Oh, hundreds and hundreds of them, sure.
Paul: Again, hundreds.
Jeff: Radio? TV?
Paul: Thousands. I've been on over 2,000 radio shows, hundreds and hundreds of TV shows, newspapers, magazines, all over the country, in fact, all over the world. Syndicates, newsletters, if you can think of a form of media, I have almost certainly been there.
Jeff: Okay, now that's pretty amazing stuff. And you don't have a public relations firm. Let's back up, tell people what a public relations firm is, because I think a lot of people don't know what that is.
Paul: Oh boy. You hit the hot button.
Jeff: Be nice.
Paul: A PR firm, a professional publicity/public relations firm, is a person or a group of people who, for very significant amounts of money, often thousands and thousands of dollars per month, will get you publicity.
Generally, they cause me a lot of heartache because I see what people are paying to get this publicity that they could be and should be doing on their own for pocket change.
I have never used a professional PR agency. I don't see any reason to ever use one. I don't see any reason to pay someone to get you booked on radio talk shows or newspaper interviews or anything else. You can do this yourself.
Publicity firms produce what they call a "press kit" and as I always say at seminars, I'll define that in English. A press kit, the way a professional PR firm is talking about it often means, "I'm going to suck as much money out of your bank account as possible until you catch on that you are being ripped off. And then I'm going to give you this slick looking glossy thing with four colors and pictures and lots of pages inside and say 'Here's your press kit'."
My whole press kit is three sheets of plain old white typing paper. That's it. I've never used anything more than that and I've probably gotten as much publicity, if not more, than these professional PR agencies.
Jeff: So your take on them is that they are not really helping people that much?
Paul: You know, in the rare instance where they may have some main line to some huge show, such as they have a great connection to the Sally Jesse Raphael Show, and they guarantee to get you on the show, well now I'm listening. But my guess is that 99.9% of them do what you can do on your own with three sheets of typing paper and a fax machine, that's it.
Jeff: Let's keep talking about this. So, if you do this on your own, you say you can do this with a fax machine. You're sending out press releases to different people in different media. Now, in a radio or a TV station, is that a producer or director? Who is the person getting it versus who at a newspaper or magazine is getting it?
Paul: I always say that I fax to a fax machine. I don't fax to a person, so I don't personalize them.
I have the fax numbers and I just send it right to that fax machine. I like to let the person on the other end decide where my press release should go. I know that goes against what you probably have read in every book, heard on every tape program about publicity, and all these pros say, "Oh no, no. Always personalize your press releases."
I've been on the Johnny Carson Show, To Tell The Truth, Jenny Jones, Regis Philbin, we could go on for a long, long time, and I never once have personalized a press release. They go to a fax machine.
The reason I like to do that is when the person on the other end decides where it should go, it's going to the right place. If I personalize the press release and I say "To Jeff Paul" and it's about hunting. You're the sports editor, but you hate hunting, you love fishing. Actually, the Lifestyle Editor should have gotten it and I put it to you. Well I just lost it.
If instead I faxed it out to the fax machine and somebody said "Oh here's a hunting press release, I'll send it over to Jack. Jack does all the hunting stories", it's gone to the right spot. I've had great success with faxing simply to a fax number and not a person.
Jeff: Okay, so you faxed out these press releases as opposed to mailing them or delivering them in person or whatever?
Paul: Faxing is cheaper, it's faster. I do some mailing, but that's usually secondary. For every 50 or 100 press releases that I fax out, I probably mail one. That's probably my ratio.
I want answers right away. Did this press release work? Am I going to get interviews right now?
I have a guideline for my press releases and when I teach people to write press releases, I say if you get a call from the media within one hour from the time you faxed out your press release, you have a sizzling press release, you're going to hit real big on this. If you get a call within a day, you have an excellent press release. If you get a call within a week, you have a good, workable press release. And if you get a call within a month, you have an okay press release, but we're going to have to do some work on it.
Jeff: Okay, now let's talk a little bit about a press release. It's some information you are sending to them to get them interested in finding out more about it.
I've seen a lot of stuff like in our local paper here in Naperville, or a lot of the trade magazines I read have the same sections too where it says like "Special Announcements" or "Promotions." And they have the "Literary Guild is having a meeting next Tuesday." And "Bob Johnson just got promoted from Second Vice President to First Vice President at the 3rd National Bank of Whatever." That sort of stuff. That's a lot of what I see of publicity as well and I'm a little confused at how you avoid getting that. Because I would assume that sort of stuff you would agree doesn't do anything, correct?
Paul: I love talking about that type of story in the newspapers. Those little one and two inch stories that you see in one column of the newspaper. I always hold those up at seminars and I make a little joke about them. I say, "I hear lots of people telling me that they get stories in the newspaper." And then I say, "Show me one of your stories." And they show me this little two-inch thing. And I say, "This is a story?" And then I crumble it up and I throw it and I say, "No. That's a spit ball." And then I hold up the stories that I'm getting in the newspaper which are huge full page, a page and a half, in color, and I say, "This is a story."
That's what you and I are talking about for now on, Jeff. Big stories, a full page, a half a page, at least a quarter of a page. Not these little one-inch things. They do nothing. I'm not interested in getting any of those for myself. If for some reason I do get them, I don't even put them in my file. They do nothing. They are called "Who Cares" press releases. "Tom Jones promoted to Vice President." As you said, "Tiffany Jackson takes tap lessons." Who cares? You want to put money in the bank.
Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. Why do people keep doing that?
I've had people tell me that they've sent the press releases out to the paper announcing in the financial planning, that they finished their certification as a financial planner and they are all proud of the fact that they got a thing that said "Jeff Paul has just been awarded the designation of Certified Financial Planner by the College for blah, blah, blah." And they say that they didn't get any calls or nothing happened. What are they doing wrong?
Paul: They are failing the "Who Cares" principle.
"Jeff Paul finishes his certified financial planner course." Who cares? Probably not even Jeff because he put a lot of work into it and now has to repay the school or whatever else. He's not making much more money because of this. It was a lot of effort.
Why do I care about what Jeff Paul did? I only care about what Jeff Paul can do for me. What is he going to do for me?
Now if Jeff Paul is offering a free seminar for me, I'm interested. If Jeff Paul is offering a free one-hour consultation for me where he'll talk about my taxes, my investments, I'm interested. If he's offering me a free report, I'm interested because he's doing something for me.
But when it simply reports what Jeff Paul did for himself, nobody cares. So you've got to pass that "Who Cares" rule.
Jeff: What do you mean by the "Who Cares" rule?
Paul: That's when you read something and in your mind or out loud you actually say "Who cares?"
I open up my newspaper and I see "Tiffany Jones became a member of the Million Dollar Roundtable." Who cares? I don't care. She did nothing for me. It's doing nothing for me, but wasting my time reading about somebody getting a promotion. But what are you going to do for me?
That should be a motivating factor in everything you do with your publicity campaigns. What are you going to do for the media people? What are the media people going to do for the readers? What are you going to do for the readers? What are you going to do for me? And that is, again, what gets people interested in you, interested in your product, and make sales for you.
Jeff: Okay, but then why is there so much of that stuff out there? I have people brag to me that the paper ran the press release word for word and they are all excited about that. Why are people excited about that?
Paul: If the press covers your release and they print your press release just the way you wrote it, word for word, you wrote a lousy press release because a one-page press release will turn into about two inches in one column in a newspaper.
Again, I'm not interested in that, I want a full page. People who send out that type of press release are reading those books that I read when I was 15, the ones that you buy in the bookstore for $20 that say "How To Get Publicity", "How To Run Your Own PR Campaign."
Some of the keys in those books are: write a press release so it's printed exactly as you write it; make sure you put your toll free number in this press release; make sure that you get all of your ordering information in your press release. That's dead wrong. It is dead wrong.
Will those press releases be printed in the media? They may be, but you'll get this teeny, weenie little story. That doesn't do you any good at all.
You want to give out lots of information so that these editors and these talk show hosts are saying:
"Wow! This guy Jeff is giving me so much information. I'm going to keep giving him more space in my newspaper."
"Wow! This guy Jeff is giving us so much information. We're out of time. Jeff, can you be on our talk show again next week?"
"Wow! Jeff you have so much information, our switchboards are full. Can we give out your phone number so that people can call you directly and place orders and ask you questions?"
That's what I want the media people to do and that's what all the listeners to this tape should want media people to do. The "Wow! You've got such good information, let me plug your product for you."
Jeff: Obviously, that makes great sense and it sounds a lot better. But what is it that you're doing with the press release - what are you trying to accomplish that's going to get them to want to write this story?
That's where I'm getting a little confused because you mentioned that thing about the dating. Like the worst words to say on a first date, and do this and you are sure you won't go out on a second date. And the best places to meet people and all that stuff. I was listening to you talk about that. I wasn't sure where that was all going.
What's the intent of all that because you don't want them to just print that because that in itself isn't going to get you business either, is it?
Paul: No. That won't get you any. Let me review that again.
Let's say in my press release I said, "Paul will tell you the worst place to go on a first date. Go here and you'll never get another date for the rest of your life."
If they printed that in the newspaper, it wouldn't make any sense. But what I got them to do was call me up. And that's the job of a press release.
The only job a press release has is to get the
media people to call you for more information,
You want to force them to call you up. And the way you force them is to make that press release so intriguing, so interesting, so packed with power, information and so packed with an offer of "I'm a great interview" that they can't resist. They've got to call you up. Even if it's just out of curiosity.
So, right now, as you and I are talking and people are listening to this tape, they heard me say that I can tell them the worst place to go on a first date; go here and the chance of getting a second date are almost zero. And right now, most people listening to this tape are saying, "Where is that place???"
Paul: That's what you want the media people to do. You want them to call you up and say, "All right. Where is this place? Tell me."
So I tell them and they say, "Okay, where's the place that you should go on a first date, because if you go here, you're going to live happily ever after." And then I tell them.
"And what's this big mistake that women are making that's costing them the love that they are looking for?" And I tell them. And then an hour later when we finally get off the phone, I have a full page in this guy's newspaper instead of that little spitball two-inch article.
Jeff: Okay, I think I'm starting to pick up on this. Let me see if I get this straight.
You're giving them this information and these curiosity-provoking statements that really get them to want to call you. That's the primary focus - to get them to call you.
The only way the story is going to get written, if I'm hearing you correctly, or that you are going to get on a radio show or you are going to get on a TV show, is if they interview you in some fashion. Or they have to interview you and the interview leads to either a story in print or the interview itself is what becomes on the air.
Is that what we're shooting at here?
Paul: That's exactly right. If I see one more book, tape program, seminar or whatever on publicity that doesn't tell people that, that doesn't say the whole job of a press release is to get the media people to call you to do another interview or a longer interview, I'll scream.
That's the job of a press release.
All these other books, tapes, seminars, etc. on how to get publicity are telling people to pack their press releases with sales pitches because you only get one shot at the media.
No, you don't. Your press release gets the shot to get them to call you and then you get a whole hour or two hours, whatever you need. Half an hour.
You want that interview to bring out a lot of information. Let the reporter write the story the way the reporter wants to because the reporter knows his or her audience and they'll write the way they like to be written to. If you write the story, you don't know how the readers like to read. They're familiar with this writer. So that is it. You are exactly right, Jeff.
Jeff: Okay, now I'm starting to really click into this because I know that I've always been taught that you're trying to get the press to print your release the way you wrote it. You want to write the story and have them publish it, but it doesn't make any sense now that you are mentioning all this.
I guess the whole point has to be that if you don't get interviewed, nothing is going to transpire that you're going to get direct response publicity from.
Paul: That's right. If you think of a full page of a normal newspaper, the regular New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, whatever. Think about how many pages that press release would have to be if it was printed word for word. I'm guessing 15- 20 pages, would equal all of that space in the newspaper.
Well, you only get a one page press release to do that. A press release should never, ever be more than one page. You've got to get right to the point. So the way they got that whole page or that page and a half or two pages is to get the media people to call them to do a lengthier interview. That's when you really hit the jackpot.
Jeff: Okay. I'm sure there are people listening to this tape right now who are going "Gosh, I've never done this before. I'm scared at the thought of a reporter interviewing me. It's going to be really overwhelming and intimidating for me."
What would you say to somebody that is thinking that?
Paul: I hear that a lot. People say, "Okay, I understand. You've got a formula. I follow the formula. I write the press release. I write the other two sheets, the bio sheet, the Q&A sheet I need, and I follow the formula. I do it exactly the way you say it. But now I've got to do press interviews? I have to have press conferences?" And they start getting nervous.
No, that's not it at all.
All the interviews you do, except for television of course, all the radio interviews that you do, all the newspaper, magazine interviews, newsletters, shopper interviews, they're all done by phone from the comfort of your own home or anywhere that you want it to be.
If there's a telephone, you do the interview from wherever the telephone is.
I've done interviews while I was on vacation, in Ireland, in France, in the Caribbean, all over the country.
I've done interviews from the side of the road at a telephone booth. I'd be in the car and for some reason - traffic, car problems, whatever - I couldn't make it home in time for the interview. I simply called up the media person that I'm in contact with and say, "Listen, I'm not going to make it in time. Call me at this phone number instead." And I'll do it from a restaurant, from the side of the road, wherever it happens to be.
So you're alone in the comfort of your own home, dress
any way that you want, talking over the phone, just like you talk to your
friends over the phone. There's no difference at all.
Paul: You know the first time you do it, it's exciting. And it's a little scary and you get nervous when the media people call you the first time.
What I recommend people do is when they do their first interviews, pick a radio station that has 100 watts. There are lots of directories in the library that list all the radio stations and how much power they have. So pick a little teeny 100 watt radio station.
Let me give you an idea of what that means. A 100 watt radio station can broadcast nowhere. You can spit further than a 100 watt radio station can broadcast.
So do your first interviews on little 100 watt radio stations. Get nervous, do whatever you want to do. You'll find out very, very quickly that you don't get nervous. What's the proof of that? We've all listened to lots and lots of radio talk shows. How many times have you ever heard a guest on a radio talk show being nervous? They're never nervous, because you don't get nervous. It's very comfortable.
After you've done two or three of these little 100 watt radio stations, you're used to it and you want the big time. You want to move up to 20,000 watts, 50,000 watts. It's a lot of fun. And in fact, the bigger the radio station, the bigger the newspaper, the bigger the magazine, the easier the interview is because the person interviewing you is a real pro.
When you are doing an interview with a 100 watt radio station, the guy who is on the air with you is also the guy who's answering the door for the UPS guy, cleaning the floors. He's more nervous than you are.
Jeff: Yes, I imagine so. Well that makes a lot of sense. I really didn't think about it in those terms.
I guess it's like anything else in life, once you do it once or twice, it's not going to be that big a deal. If you make a mistake or two in the beginning, well you just have to make a mistake or two and get past it.
Paul: That's all. People never make a mistake and reveal their deep dark secrets over the air or whatever else. They may stumble over a few words, just as I've done in this interview, and I've done thousands of interviews.
You'll stumble once in a while over a word. Who cares? They don't care what you sound like. You don't have to have this rich resonant voice. It doesn't matter if you have an accent or not. As long as you can give out the information that you have to give out, that's what they're interested in.
The media people will actually guide you through the interview. They want this to be a good interview. It benefits them. If they have a great interview, they have happy listeners. They have happy readers. And the readers and listeners are more prone to buy what you have to offer them.
Jeff: Okay, let's wrap this up with the last few minutes here. Talk about the mechanics and the cost of doing this because whenever I hear this, I find this hard to believe. But I want you to help us out here on this.
I've seen you had full-page articles written about you in magazines, for example. I forget which one, it was a financial magazine I think.
Paul: Forbes Magazine.
Jeff: Forbes Magazine. Okay, now what would you guess a full-page ad in Forbes Magazine would cost if somebody were to buy the ad?
Paul: I got two full color pages in Forbes. It was all about me. It wasn't about 68 different people and one little sentence was about me. It was two full pages in Forbes. If I bought that as advertising, it would have cost over $105,000.
Paul: Not bad.
Jeff: And this article was just about you?
Paul: That's it.
Jeff: It wasn't about some topic where you were just like quoted or something?
Paul: No. It was totally about me. What I had to offer. What I did. And again, it was giving out lots of information about my topic in that article.
Jeff: Okay. Now that's on the extreme side. But no matter where you go, if you're going to get a full page in a newspaper, it's going to cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. And in magazines, you are talking thousands to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet you are able to accomplish this with the fax.
So, just give me some economics here. If you were going to send out 100 press releases, how much does that cost?
Paul: I used to say that it cost me 15 cents to fax out a one-page press release. But as you know, phone rates have been dropping very significantly. If you're doing local faxing, there's no cost at all. A local phone call is free.
Right now, just about anyone can make a one-minute call anywhere in the country for 10 cents any time during the day or night, that's a pretty standard rate right now. Now it's 10 cents. So for $10.00, I can send out 100 press releases to key media people. Again, that's power.
Jeff: So you're spending $10, you are getting 100 press releases out. And if you write a good press release, how many of those would turn to people calling you back for some sort of interview, on average?
Paul: Let me give you some numbers. Every Valentine's Day, I send a press release for my audio book "How To Find The Love Of Your Life In 90 Days Or Less." That's a very appropriate time to do it.
I send out 1,000 press releases, which winds up costing me about $100, approximately. And out of that, I generally get 170 - 180 interviews. And the total cost is about $100. Far less than $1 an interview.
Jeff: 180 interviews for $100 of cost.
Paul: Isn't it amazing?
Jeff: It's more than amazing.
Jeff: And are these all varying types of media like magazines, print, radio, TV, etc.? All of the above?
Paul: Yes. I like to balance them out. I like to do some print. I like to do TV, radio. They all have their own strong points and weak points. I want to balance them out.
Plus, it's fun to do TV. I love being on TV. Everybody would love to be on TV. Everybody would love to be on TV and have all their neighbors walk out the next morning and have their jaws drop and say, "I saw you on TV yesterday!!!"
Paul: "When you're on TV, you're a celebrity."
Jeff: Let's talk about the mercenary side because I'm more mercenary.
When you're at 180 interviews promoting this book, I don't know if you want to share specific figures with me or not, but if you could I would appreciate it, if not, I understand. But, I assume you are generating a lot of revenue from that meager cost?
Paul: Yes. Let's say the audio book is $17.95. Let's say you have a product for $20 to round it off. Make it even. And you are going to do 180 interviews. If each interview sells just 10 of your products, you're getting $200 for doing half an hour or an hour interview, and then you are doing 180 of these. I have done interviews where I sold hundreds and hundreds and hundreds. The phone would not stop ringing.
I got a call last week from one of the people following my formula. He got three minutes on Channel 13 TV in Los Angeles, the news show. After his three-minute interview, they gave out his phone number - he was offering a book. He called me about four days later.
He sold 860 of these books. He got between 200 and 300 self-addressed stamped envelopes for a free report. He had two seminars completely fill up. He also had people saying, "I can't make it to your seminar." And they booked with him directly to come right into his office.
All from a three-minute spot on a TV show in Los Angeles.
Jeff: Which probably cost him 10 cents to get, based on what you are telling me?
Paul: Yes. It did, in fact. It cost him 10 cents.
Jeff: So I can't do all that math in my head that fast, but they are astronomical returns, obviously. And also, isn't there something you call the "Halo Effect?" Would you explain what that is?
Paul: Sure. When you place an ad, you are seen as an advertiser. Ads sell. People do not believe ads. They never believe ads right out of the gate. When they first read an ad, they say "This is an ad. Somebody's trying to sell me something."
So there's a little resistance right there. If you're placing ads, you have to break down the resistance of the people reading your ad.
When that exact same newspaper runs a story about you, it's no longer an ad. Now it's news. People immediately believe news. It's like you're getting instant credibility from the media people. The people reading the story, listening to the show, watching TV immediately believe you. They see you as a celebrity. They see you as an authority. They believe what you are saying because in their minds they are saying, "Wow, if this guy, has a full page in this newspaper, that newspaper must believe in this product. They must have done a lot of background research on this guy or they wouldn't have given him a whole page in the newspaper."
That's the "Halo Effect." That instant credibility that you get.
Never underestimate that because, again, that's unbelievable power.
Let's say a story runs about you on the right hand page of a newspaper or magazine. You have the whole right hand page running a story about you.
On the left hand page is a full page ad run by somebody selling the same thing you are selling, and they paid $2,000 for the ad. People reading the ad are resisting it. People reading the story about you are believing it.
Jeff: Yes. So, for example, when I told you my wife, Peggy, read that article about asthma, if she had seen it as an ad, she may not have paid any attention to that whatsoever. But because it was in an article, she believed it so much, it had so much credibility that she actually called up the media and tried to find out the source so she could get more information. That's the difference you're talking about.
Paul: What a great example. Again, if that whole ad said, "Here's this great new device that's going to help your asthma." It's an ad. It looks like an ad, people think it's an ad, they don't believe it, they resist it.
On the other side, if the headline says, "Remarkable Breakthrough In Asthma Announced Today", there's the news story. And it's all about you, all about your new technique, all about what you have to offer and at the bottom, if you know how to approach the media, they have your contact information.
The guy who gets the story about the asthma will be flooded. The guy who is running the ad will have to break down that resistance.
Jeff: Right. That's a great way to end this. Your whole story is basically that getting publicity is 1,000 times more believable and the results are higher than what you would pay for for an ad for the same product.
But your cost is a 10 cent fax which got this guy three minutes on a TV station. How much would it cost to buy three minutes of commercial time on that TV station and not getting anywhere near the kind of results?
Paul: And how much money do they wind up putting in the bank for that?
We said at the beginning of this interview, I'm astonished that people have any thoughts of not doing this. Why would you not do this? The downside is so minimal. One dollar for 10 press releases. So it's not even a question of money.
Can you do it? Sure. People are doing it all over the country. The results are powerful. It's a lot of fun.
I've looked at my tax returns and in the part where it says "advertising expense", you are supposed to fill in how much you spent on advertising. For the last three years, I've spent zero, zero and $150 on advertising and I have a very healthy business. It's all publicity driven because it's so cheap and so much fun.
Jeff: Yes. Like I said at the beginning of the tape, you are the master of it. There's no doubt about it. I know I've gotten a lot out of this and I think it's very, very clear to me now, and hopefully to the listeners, that there are two ways to do things. There's the easy way and the hard way. And you seem to be one of those lazy individuals who would rather be slothful and do it the easy way instead of fighting, struggling, being miserable and working your rear-end off to get the same result or a worse result.
Paul: That's right. As I always say at seminars, there are several groups of people. When they see a mountain, some of these people will climb over the mountain. Some people would try to knock the mountain down. I want to walk around the thing. To me that's the easiest way to do it and I'm going to get to the other side probably a whole lot sooner than anybody else.
Jeff: With a lot less scars and problems.
Paul: That's right.
Jeff: Well, listen Paul, thank you very much for being here. We're just about out of time. And I know it's been very interesting to me to listen to you and your insights are always welcome and very fascinating to me.
If you want to get more information about Paul's publicity kit, go to www.PRProfits.com/prkit
Paul, thank you very much for being here, as always it was a pleasure.
Paul: Jeff, the pleasure is mine. Thank you.
Copyright Paul Hartunian, 155 Bellevue Avenue, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043 - (973)509-5244